Can victims of catastrophic brain injury have ‘awareness’ of their plight?

A recent study in The Lancet, as reported in the New York Times, suggests that, at least some patients in a vegetative state do have awareness.

[S]aid Joseph T. Giacino, the director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, who was not involved in the research. “…it sure looks as if there’s not just a little bit of consciousness but a lot” in patients who had been deemed unresponsive.

In proving damages to help benefit victims of catastrophic injury, this study could potentially be used to support a finding of conscious pain and suffering, which is compensable.

Finally, @Sprint announces the Photon 4G for July 31. I am so there.

Good timing.  My contract is up right about the same time this phone comes out, and it’s just what I want.  Read the press release at Sprintfeed.  I was an early adopter of Android with the Hero two years ago and no the handset can hardly dial, it’s so bogged down.  I know the HTC Sense user interface is much beloved, but after two years with it, I’m really ready for a different look.  So it will be Motorola Blur for a while.  but in the meantime, bring on that dual core processor, front facing camera, 4.3 inch screen and a bunch of other goodies.  Will it be better than an iPhone 5 (or 4s)?  Probably not, but I’m committed to Android and it looks like the Photon 4G is moving right to the top of the heap.

Thank you to John @Scalzi and Joseph Perla for their articulate assessments of Facebook

This stuff, from Scalzi’s Whatever is absolutely brilliant.  Make sure you read the whole screed, but here are few choice tidbits:

Facebook has made substandard versions of everything on the Web, bundled it together and somehow found itself being lauded for it, as if AOL, Friendster and MySpace had never managed the same slightly embarrassing trick. Facebook had the advantage of not being saddled with AOL’s last-gen baggage, Friendster’s too-early-for-its-moment-ness, or MySpace’s aggressive ugliness, and it had the largely accidental advantage of being upmarket first — it was originally limited to college students and gaining some cachet therein — before it let in the rabble.

In addition to the elitism, which I hadn’t previously thought of, there is the dumbed-down web aspect:

Facebook is the Web hit with a stupid stick, but that doesn’t mean people are stupid for using it.

And let us not forget what it’s all for – not bringing people together, that’s merely a by-product of the commercial enterprise:

Its grasping attempts to get its hooks into every single thing I do feels like being groped by an overly obnoxious salesman. Its general ethos that I need to get over the concept of privacy makes me want to shove a camera lens up Zuckerberg’s left nostril 24 hours a day and ask him if he’d like for his company to rethink that position.

Again, it is not the people who use Facebook that is the problem, it is the platform itself.  And the real question, which Scalzi presumes to answer, is whether the MASSIVE market penetration will ever let this unfortunate and inadequate advertising device go away.  Here’s a clue to Scalzi’s opinion: He’s a bit more optimistic than I am.

While Scalzi looks at the technological inadequacies of Facebook, which he thinks will be its downfall, I see evidence that the outsized adoption rate, the 500 million members, creates a mythology of profit that goes beyond the reality of substandard technology.

I have no idea who Joseph Perla is, but this article, which may overstate the case a bit, brings up some questions about the value received by Facebook advertisers.

More and more people sign up to Facebook, and more and more businesses hear about how many people are on Facebook. It seems like a huge opportunity. TV shows and award-winning movies are made about Facebook.

Perla suggests that the it’s all sizzle and no steak:

What is clear from everyone I know who has advertised on Facebook is that it was a waste of money. Facebook promises big returns on ad spending, but delivers nothing. Yet, their value and growth continues because they can use that money to grow their user-base more and assert profitability (in this sense it’s not quite entirely a ponzi scheme, but there is no closer idea). It’s possible that they do not even realize that they are like a Ponzi scheme.

Perhaps Facebook is not a Ponzi scheme, but this concept of questionable value to advertisers has been on my mind for a while.  It was refreshing to see someone echo those sentiments.

A loving tribute to electric Miles, GET THIS NOW!! Mederic Colignon – Shangri-Tunkashi-La

I came across this gifted artist quite randomly, and yet he has a shocking affinity for some of my favorite music ever recorded.  Time has been kind to Miles Davis’ electric period (1969-1975), even though that body of work was not well thought of upon release.  During my college career (1990-1994), that era of music became the most important signpost on a musical journey that continues to this day.  What I learned from listing to ‘In a Silent Way’, ‘Jack Johnson’ and ‘Dark Magus’ shaped the person I have become, both musically and otherwise.  I still routinely return to those and other recordings and find more undiscovered nuance of melody, rhythm and groove.

And in much the same way that Simone Rosetti’s The Watch has absolutely nailed the Gabriel-era Genesis, Collignon has uncovered a similar resonance with that extraordinary time in the career of Miles Davis.  His latest release is Shangri-Tunkashi-La and it is a pure delight.  Firstly, it is readily available on iTunes, which surprised and delighted me.  Second, the renditions of Bitches Brew, Billy Preston, It’s About That Time, and others are not replicas of the originals, but incorporate the jubilant spirit of improvisation which was such an important part of how those compositions came into the world.

The record is now favorably reviewed in English, has gorgeous cover art and can be downloaded by anyone with an iTunes account.  All that remains is a North American tour schedule.  Hope springs eternal.

Give “Billy Preston” a listen below.

Am I about to become a Scott Henderson / Tribal Tech fan?

Scott Henderson, picking up some of that much-needed endorsement cash.

I had always known that Scott Henderson had played with Zawinul, but never really gave it much thought.  Weather report was and explicitly NO-GUITAR outfit.  On the other hand, starting with the one time I saw Zawinul’s band in ’97, I’ve known that he always has young and talented  guitarists as part of the supporting ensemble.  I don’t know anything about the solo work of Amit Chatterjee, or some Jozy’s other guitar players.  I do know that Henderson’s body of work is successful in both popularity and critical acclaim.  Plus he has a king-size honker. Here’s the track that’s changing my mind.  This is Carnavalito from the 1989 live album ‘Black Water’.  I have heard several version of this song, but only just discovered this one while going through some old data DVD’s.  Check out the Discipline-era King Crimson vibe at the very beginning of this track.

Crossposting not working anymore?


What a pain in the ass – I think I’m just going back to the old cut-and-paste mentality. It seems like this crossposting thing should be easier, but everybody’s got different tables and things. Blogger doesn’t want to talk to WordPress; CrossPress only works from the admin account and then doesn’t transfer categories or tags; and to have comments appear on two blogs at once, well you can forget it.